The Maltese is one of the most intelligent and most gentle of all the toy dog breeds. This lively and agile little toy dog loves to play games. Maltese are small in stature and usually stand 8 to 9 inches tall at shoulder height and weighs from 4 to 7 pounds. This toy dog breed has a long-haired coat without any undercoat. The gorgeous coat is straight and silky without any curls and is pure white in color.
The Maltese is a member of the American Kennel Club (AKC) Toy Dog Group.
The Maltese is one of the world’s oldest dog breeds and may have originated in Malta. Statues of similar looking dogs have been found in Egyptian tombs as far back as 3,000 years ago. It was a favorite of aristocratic ladies in ancient Greece and Rome and also during the Middle Ages in Europe. In recent times, the Maltese has become a very popular companion and apartment dog.
Maltese were ranked 19th out of 154 dog breeds in 2004 AKC registrations.
This toy breed is cheerful, loving, playful, smart and has lots of personality. This intelligent toy dog adores and wants to please his master, so it is fairly easy to train. Maltese should have early socialisation while they are puppies to give them more confidence and overcome their distrust of strangers. Maltese enjoy obedience training and some will do well in competitive obedience and agility competitions. If you overindulge and spoil this toy dog, you will probably end up with an insecure, spoiled and barky dog.
This toy breed tends to be barky and difficult to house train so early training will help both of those problems. Maltese love to go for walks but keep them on-leash to prevent them from being attacked by a larger dog. This toy breed does fine with older and considerate children but does not like the rough handling that can happen with toddlers. Maltese are somewhat cautious with strangers and make fine watch dogs.
This toy breed does well with first-time or novice dog owners.
This breed gets lots of exercise playing inside but does like to go on walks with its owner. Maltese are sensitive to inclement weather and would rather be a lap dog on cool or wet days. Remember to use a wide collar or a harness to avoid injury when taking them for a walk. Maltese make good apartment dogs.
Maltese require a lot of grooming including daily combing and brushing and regular bathing. The coat is parted down the centre of the back and should almost reach the ground. These dogs do not shed their hair and the dead hair should be brushed and plucked out. The hair in front of their eyes should be held up with a head band or bow to allow the Maltese to see.
Maltese generally live for 13 to 15 years.
Some common health problems include: eye infections, teeth problems including gingivitis, liver problems and low thyroid.